With more slots than ever coming to market each month, securing viable distribution for each new title is paramount. In the latest slots roundtable, Pariplay’s Enrico Bradamante, Relax Gaming’s Simon Hammon and Vladislav Hveckovich at SoftGamings discuss the practicalities involved in ensuring returns for both the aggregator platforms and the developers.
Do you offer the same deal to every partner on your network – is there a baseline?
Enrico Bradamante (EB): In the whole value chain, everybody needs to be able to make their fair earning. Commercially, it’s paramount that it works for all parties. We aim to be as flexible as possible in our offering and support our partners the best we can. There is certainly a lot of content currently being produced. Last year we launched over 3,500 new games, which is almost 10 titles a day! With such a great offering, we aim to ensure maximum coverage immediately on launch, leveraging our global regulated network and proven technologies.
Simon Hammon (SH): Relax has several key partnership types and this is reflective largely of the different position some suppliers are in. Some partners require more technical assistance, commercial assistance and also licensing/sheltering. Ultimately, we tailor our approach to each partner depending on their needs. We of course have guidelines, but again, it’s partner dependent.
Vladislav Hveckovich (VH): At the moment slot studios decide on their commercials and then we discuss it with them, we talk about whether it’s in line with the market given their unique advantages, etc. Usually, we have a baseline in mind as there are quite a few established slots providers on the market and we have already integrated virtually all of them, so we feel we know the market quite well. Looking at the operator’s side, if the operator uses us for aggregation, we usually tailor our solution to what the operator is interested in.
Is it as simple as providing studios with access to operators? What other benefits or development support, such as retention and engagement features, do you provide to partners?
EB: Our Fusion aggregation platform is not only about making games available. We act as a technical conduit, supporting both our vendors and operators where needed. Among other things, we offer support around regulation and entering new markets. Our GRT (Gaming Regulation Technology) solution is a type of ‘wrapper’ for any game, from any vendor that is hosted on our Fusion platform. It dynamically adapts the game for the respective regulatory requirements.
We also offer our sophisticated seamless suite of engagement tools which requires no extra integration work and supports our partners in acquiring and retaining players.
For vendors that do not have their own RGS, we have established our Ignite programme. This offers the possibility to rebuild games on our platform, which we then certify in the 15+ regulated markets where we are active, giving them access to the amazing distribution network that we have at Pariplay.
SH: Relax aims to make the process as simple as possible for both our Silver Bullet and Powered By partners. It’s possibly a little easier for our Silver Bullet partners as we are representing and distributing to our operators; however, we aim to make the distribution and access to operators as easy as possible for our Powered By partners too. Relax has a streamlined integration process allowing for a suite of both regulated market access and promotional functionality. The integration not only allows for a swift operator enablement process but also distribution and promotional capabilities.
VH: It is pretty standard for slot studios to develop and host their games and provide an API. The benefit that studios get from working with us is by access to a roster of large operators that use our aggregation services. As we provide a unified integration, there is a significant time and cost advantage. Operators also save months of time on commercial and legal discussions and receive our bonus engine, free support and reports as part of the package.
What is your preference – do you look to fully integrate with every partner, or does this depend on the partner?
EB: We have structured our tech stack to be able to make our solution available regardless of the integration approach. We can integrate into operators or vice versa without any hindrance to the offering. Our strategy is to ensure that technically, each connection is as seamless as a direct integration, if not better. We therefore aim to feature each of our vendor partner’s full offering, including engagement tools and such. Of course, we cannot insist on this and each vendor may need to extend the integration to apply this but our tech stack supports everything.
SH: The level of integration really depends on the partner. Some partners require much more in-depth technical support than others. Relax likes to ensure a key baseline delivery for its operators on both a jurisdictional and functionality basis. However, it is impossible to support all functionalities that may be proprietary to a partner due to maintenance and consistency.
VH: We fully integrate the slot studios and our operators then have an option on what to use. We do not force our operators to take everything from us and we are quite flexible in tailoring to their needs.
Talk us through the account management process with the operator clients; can you offer any sort of additional benefits, such as guaranteed positioning on sites?
EB: We see ourselves as an enabler and not a controller. Our mission is to support our partners through transparency. We work hard to understand the wishes of all partners and help them meet in the middle. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping them communicate directly and us being flexible enough to support whatever they agree. Other times we can be the driver. We do not make decisions on behalf of either side; instead, we ensure they are not hindered by inflexibility.
SH: We always do our utmost with partners to best represent the content available and ensure the strongest positioning possible. Operators always take the decision here based upon recommendations of course. The competition in the market is fierce, therefore quality and a specific focus are always key factors.
VH: We help our operators with promotions and are able to get great promo offers from the studios given our size. We work together with the larger operators and slot studios to ensure the best positioning of the games, as it’s a win-win scenario for the studios and the operators.
How do you balance multiple needs and demands across such a wide range of third-party partners, as well as with proprietary content?
EB: I think the content can be split into different categories. There are tier-one vendors that are very well established and work across several markets with well-known brands and games.
We then have localised content, for example converted land-based titles, that are known and popular in a particular geography and we can support them in launching an online product. Finally, we have what we would call tier-two vendors that do not hold many licences and we provide them with access to regulated markets. This is a shortcut for smaller companies to enter those markets without having to invest into the full licensing process.
SH: Relax keeps the tracks separate. Our aggregation business has its own dedicated bandwidth vs Relax own content. This was done primarily to ensure there was no internal resource conflict. With an expanding partner base now numbering over 70, a myriad of discussions and alignments over new opportunities, new markets and much more take place. However, our effective process and great tech help remove a lot of unnecessary headaches.
VH: It is a complicated process, as with the number of providers that we have it’s a never-ending process of adding new integrations and making changes to the existing ones. We understand that we have to make this process as simple as possible to our operator clients. We know how to aggregate content, how to ensure that the connection is fast and stable, and we try to remove as much complexity as possible for the operators.
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